A succinct title with a story enclosed that packs a wallop, The Horizon Volume 1 is minimal with maximum impact. It is a bleak look at an apocalyptic world through the eyes of a little boy. The artwork captures that dreary horror, as though humanity itself is scratched out. When the boy encounters a little girl, they pair up, trying to survive what the world has become. The Horizon Volume 1 is a quick read despite its 376-page length, creating a world of horror with innocence destroyed at its center.
It took me a second to recognize that the author, JH, created another manhwa I adore, The Boxer. On second glance, it’s easy to see the familiar artwork in this Yen Press manhwa translated by Ultramedia and lettered by Abigail Blackman. Despite the somber opening and surroundings, JH lulls you into hope. Panels sometimes stretch across two pages, emphasizing the vastness of what’s unfolding. The story begins with the little boy hidden by his mom, coming out and seeing the aftermath of a massacre that includes his mother.
The Horizon Volume 1 Has Boy Meets Girl With a Twist
Though challenging to write about, I love that none of the characters have names. The black-and-white style, nameless characters, and minimal dialogue remind me of the comic, Mage and The Endless Unknown. It’s as though anyone could be one of these people. Even the cover captures that feeling of insignificance as the boy faces off against nature, specifically, horrific human nature. When they meet on a school bus, it throws you off because plenty of meet-cutes begin in a school setting. The pain in The Horizon Volume 1 is their encounter is anything but sweet. They are hiding from violence outside, which its origins are unclear, and perhaps it doesn’t matter for these two little kids.
Between the pair, the girl has more hope and pity than the boy. Reading Horizon Volume 1, you and the boy worry for the girl. Girls and women were not safe before the current hell the two find themselves in. Her hope that people come together without hate is a utopia. When they encounter a creepy man following them around, your fear and the boy’s ramp up. JH’s artistry and writing are stylish and unique, making you feel close to the terror these kids go through.
New Dangers on The Horizon
As the story is through the boy’s experience of the world, there’s no information about what caused all the bloodshed. One panel made me think it was a zombie world-ending event. Or it could be war, a favorite pastime of humanity. The cliffhanger keeps the suspense heightened as you await the next volume. Given the premise, how much more hell will these two go through, and will they survive?
The Horizon Volume 1 is a silent yet deadly delight. The dreary immensity of what two little kids face leaves you desperately rooting for them. But simultaneously, you wonder what humanity they’ll lose to stay alive. Like films showing adults as the biggest threat, The Horizon Volume 1 paints a picture of innocence destroyed, but hope that as long as they are together, all will end well.